Critical thinking: Shifting students from memorization to seeking solutions

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

McCOOK, Neb. — It’s no longer just true or false or multiple choice when it comes to learning.

Now, teachers are instructing students how to think critically and solve complex problems instead of memorization, Superintendent Grant Norgaard said Monday night at the regular school board meeting.

Norgaard said there is a need for critical thinking, or depth of knowledge, when it comes to assessments and teachers are teaching just that to their students.

“We are pushing teachers, more so in the past, to look at instruction … and help students think on a deeper level,” he told the board.

In other business Monday night at the meeting, a donation of almost $3,000 was officially accepted by the McCook School Board.

The donation of $2,934.56, by the Doug Hauxell family, was given to help offset costs for learning labs for agriculture classes at the high school.

Comments made during “Positive Comments” included:

* JoAnn Neel, student council representative: thanked the high school faculty who helped decorate the for spirit week. Neel also told the board at the beginning of Monday night’s meeting that a penny drive at the high school was currently underway. Proceeds will be sent to the “Make A Wish” Foundation and the class with the most donations will have the opportunity to throw a pie in the face of a pre-selected teacher on Friday.time Not all teachers have been selected yet, except for John Kershaw, senior class, who teaches senior math and Richard Smock, junior class, who teaches social studies.

* Brad Hays, board member: cited the players and coaches of the high school softball team in qualifying for state competition.

* Brian Esch, board member: thanked teachers for the extra time they put in during parent-teacher conferences and also thanked coaches/staff for their dedication in extra-curricular activities.

* Teresa Thomas, board vice president: noted that high school kids helped out with elementary students at the recent “Kid’s Fitness Day.” She also cited the school district’s custodial team for the “exceptional cleanliness” comments noted in the safety audit.

* Bob Elder, board member: commended parents and members of the community who helped prepare the softball fields Saturday, when games were postponed from Friday.

* Loretta Hauxwell, board secretary: complimented the sportsmanship behavior of McCook’s players and coaches. Also cited school bus drivers for their early-morning hours transporting students to events.

* Tom Bredvick, board president: noted the excellent results of the safety audit, adding “You don’t find that in every school.”

* Rick Haney, business manager: thanked the office staff of Deb Meyers, Bobbi Bortner and Erin Ruppert for all the work they do. “We reconcile every account to the penny,” he said, which is quite a feat considering that about $1.6 million is received/disbursed each month.

* Superintendent Grant Norgaard: cited High Ability Learner (HAL) director Linda Wood, who recently supervised a trip with students who spent the night at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb.

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